Addressing Local Policy Issues in Emerging Economies

Organizing institution
Utrecht University - Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance
Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
€ 495.00
Advanced Bachelor

This course provides participants with applied research methods to clearly identify and effectively address local policy issues in the context of developing countries and emerging economies. Coming up with successful solutions to local problems requires both experiential learning, and the involvement of a broad coalition of stakeholders within the local ecosystem. This one-week program is designed according to a problem-driven iterative approach, which is customary in the startup community, and more recently also proposed as a way to build state capability. 

Although local governments in many developing countries and emerging economies appear to have the capabilities to routinely propose projects, programs and policies, they often lack the capability to actually implement or execute them. Building organizational and governmental capability to implement is therefore of primary importance for realizing development objectives. Like learning a language or a musical instrument, capability is not something that can simply be imported or copied, but is acquired by persistent practice and a process of trial and error (Andrews et al., 2013).

The course introduces techniques of problem-driven policy making, in which participants engage in designing policy experiments and conducting applied research in a learning lab environment. Techniques that are introduced include the problem-driven iterative approach (PDIA), the entrepreneurial ecosystems diagnose-tool (Stam, 2017), effectuation methods, design thinking, and lean launchpad implementation strategies (Ries, 2011). Practitioners from Utrecht Municipality in relevant areas of local policy will contribute to the morning workshops and will facilitate afternoon excursions. 

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Dr. Leendert de Bell


Prof. dr. Erik Stam (Utrecht University, Utrecht Center for Entrepreneurship)

Dr. Hein Roelfsema (Utrecht University, Utrecht Center for Entrepreneurship)

Dr. Leendert de Bell (Utrecht University, Utrecht Center for Entrepreneurship)

Etienne de Jager, MSc. (Utrecht Municipality)

Target audience

The course is designed for local policymakers, in particular from developing countries and emerging economies, (aspiring) entrepreneurs, as well as bachelor and masters students interested in sustainable solutions for specific local challenges. A good command of English is necessary.

Course aim

The aim of the course is to implement an iterative, problem-driven approach in order to come up with sustainable solutions for specific local challenges, in particular in the context of developing countries and emerging economies (e.g. Water, Waste, Mobility, Energy). At the end of the course, participants will be able to design policy experiments and conduct applied research to effectively address local policy issues.

Study load

4-6 contact hours per day
3 afternoon excursions (with Utrecht Municipality)


Course fee
€ 495.00
Housing fee
€ 200.00

Housing through Utrecht Summer School


A limited number of scholarships is available for participants from emerging markets. Please send a well-motivated request to the course director.


For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

  • Motivation Letter
  • C.V.

More information


Application deadline: 15 June 2019